350g (2⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons ground white pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
250g (¾ cup) molasses
75g (⅓ cup) unsalted butter, softened
juice of ½ lemon
1 egg
cocoa powder, for dusting

These warm, spicy, not-too-sweet biscuits are rich in molasses, which substitutes sugar entirely in this recipe and is what also gives them their deep brown colouring and mellow, balsamic-like flavour. They are named for the presence of pevare, or pepper, in Venetian dialect – this is white pepper to be precise – and often the recipe is accompanied by other spices too, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. You could use a combination of them here, too. Originally, these would have been made with lard in place of the butter or sometimes brushed with a sticky glaze of simple syrup when coming out of the oven. This is inspired mostly by a recipe from Giampiero Rorato’s Dolci delle Venezie (2005).

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1.Place all the dry ingredients, except for the cocoa powder, in a large bowl.
2.In a separate bowl, beat the molasses, the butter and lemon juice until caramel-like.
3.Add the egg then stir (I like a wooden spoon or a fork) into the flour mixture until you have a well-combined dough.
4.Rest the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge, or even overnight.
5.When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
6.Then, on a clean surface such as a wooden board, roll the dough to about 5mm thick (dust it beforehand with cocoa powder if it is sticky; this will help, like flour, for it to not stick but the colour blends in better).
7.Cut into diamonds approximately 5cm (2in) wide and place, spaced well apart, on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
8.Bake for 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are slightly puffed and dry on top. Cool on a wire baking tray.
9.They keep well stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Try these dipped in wine.

This is an edited
extract from Cinnamon
& Salt by Emiko
Davies, published by
Hardie Grant Books,
RRP $45. Available
in stores nationally.
©Emiko Davies